This is a subject that I encounter frequently and in many forums from home, the office and to any social gathering where folks actually talk to each instead of being immersed in a device or two. It is also one that I’ve been meaning to share my perspective on for quite some time. And through the veil of our current political discourse, I am 95% confident that I cannot offend anyone by sharing my opinion here.
Your feelings towards people’s reaction to your doings – is the thing I am talking about. Yes – I have had the opportunity to have this same discussion more times than I care to admit. And in almost every instance, the circumstances were different, the people were different and their sentiments about their situation were very different too. What was common, however, was the feeling of not being rewarded, appreciated and/or acknowledged for their kindness, efforts, or thoughts. More surprisingly was that their feelings were directly associated with someone else’s perception and interpretation of its value, completely bypassing the ownership stake that they possess during that process.
Stay with me………
Another interesting part is that the sometimes weighted sentiments or actions that follow could have easily been dispelled with a few simple words strung together. A mare thank you could provoke a ‘Good Samaritan’ vibe or valiant nod; well done, could instill some confidence or sense of accomplishment in an employee, or an article of appreciation can demonstrate their value to the collective gain. So simple, yet so powerful, and left unspoken too often deprives us all of a positive next step.
So ‘crowd a people’ (in my best Jamaican accent – I am not Jamaican), my opinion here isn’t directed towards the benefactors of their contributions, nor is it to remind these recipients that there is value in gratitude. Rather I’d like to address the doers of the deeds, the generous and the compassionate to throw a crazy thought out there – Try rethinking your reward system. By that I mean, how you allow yourself to feel, think and react when you contribute, give, and do. A stark contrast to how you can allow other people to define that feeling for you and more times than not, obliviously.
Ok. There it is
I believe a reward system should extend as far as you nose can smell, arms can reach or tongue can taste – and unless you are a mutant, I mean keep it short folks – very very short. If you do the things you do because you can, because want to, because you’re capable, because you believe in its impact then you have already won. Here’s why, because the satisfaction, the acknowledgement, gratification and appreciation is instant. You should already be satisfied with the outcome – as long as you did your level best; you can be grateful for the ability to do what you did; you will probably appreciate the beauty of a finished product or completed task – it can be a beautiful thing, and yes, you do benefit from its impact as it will bear your name and remembered by others.
I subscribe to a reward system where acknowledgements and kudos are extra credit – nice but not too important. Where a ‘thank you’ can be replaced by a smile or a tear and the thing they do next means more than the reaction your deed could illicit. Where ‘well done’ is confirmation of what you already knew because you were confident in your capability of doing that very thing. And where reciprocation, though generous, need not apply because it was not about you, and even if it can be for you, it can be done by you – again. I think we could benefit immensely if we could embrace a modus operando that reduces resentment, dismisses ungratefulness, and injects a sense of accomplishment immediately when we choose to do the things we do even if our human nature wants to do otherwise.
So if you can see it in this crazy way, I believe that kind of reward system allows you to enjoy a lot and avoid even more. Think of it like looking in the mirror and what you see is staring right back at you asking “how you feel? “– And you smile and reply “man irie” (in my best Jamaican accent – I am still not Jamaican) every time. And it’s because none of the unintended sentiments and actions that can’t contribute to that smile hold any value anymore. Now drop the mic!…………………..walk.